Emerging through hanging leaves into Ubiquitous Chip like a surreptitious David Attenborough, (should Sir David be more occupied with prosecco and cheese rather than the wonders of the natural world), it was time for me to pay one of Glasgow’s most iconic restaurants a much delayed visit.
Whether you’re familiar with the arboretum-like settings, or have been acquainted with maverick Scottish writer and artist Alistair Gray’s magnificent wall murals, I’m sure that the legends of the eatery have not gone unheard, even if you have yet to dine here.
Nestled quite comfortably in Glasgow’s West End Ashton Lane, Ubiquitous Chip is a special little gem. Described as “a melting pot of people and ideas” since opening 45 years ago, it’s been frequented by the fun and the famous, the quirky and the quintessential West Ender. Ex-staff members include actress Kelly MacDonald and The Late Late Show host, Craig Ferguson.
And whats on the menu? It’s a treasure trove of Scottish fare when it comes to grazing, and an epic journey through the world of wine when it comes to alcoholic amazements. Winner of the AA Wine Award 2015, you can guarantee that it’s worth perusing the 20-page wine novel to select the bottle for you. Don’t hesitate to grill the resident sommelier either – he’ll enthusiastically divulge the full history of any wine on the menu, providing some handy tasting notes and helpful pointers of which dish to match with your glass.
It’s with idiosyncrasies and quite lovely quirks like these that ultimately makes the Chip’s dining so charming. I enjoyed every sip, bite, glug and munch throughout the experience, and can only lament the fact that I didn’t order more munch, wish fore more wine.
Alas, until my next visit, you’ll just need to join me as I wistfully look back on the evening’s delicacies…
Amuse-bouche: Red pepper gazpacho
I can confirm – our bouches were officially amused with this refreshingly sweet appetiser.
Main no. 1: Guinea fowl breast, confit leg and pancetta cannelloni, celeriac.
The pancetta-stuffed cannelloni was a particular highlight amongst this colourful dish, and not a trace of puree could even be spied once I’d finished mopping up the lot with the deliciously moist guinea fowl.
Main 2. Galloway roe deer, squash, baby onions, smoked potato, hazelnuts and cocoa.
Ingredients which were individually tasty – combined together absolutely spectacular. Each mouthful wasn’t complete unless all components were stacked onto the fork. The crumbled cocoa was the most surprising element to the dish, melting together perfectly when sprinkled over the the rare-cooked roe dee, providing a quite satisfying crunch to the texture of the meat.
Dessert: Lemon and chocolate ganache.
Sweet yet zesty, chocolatey yet beautifully light – even those lacking a sweet tooth would be hard pressed to find a problem with this dessert heaven.
Cheese: Scottish and English selection
Onto the more mature portion of the evening – the cheese. This handsome plate wins the award for the most divine of 2016. As I painstaking chose three cheeses out of the possible five (I had to show some restraint, after all), the starring line-up saw a trio of Ragstone goat’s cheese, a Scottish blue and a Tunworth cow’s cheese.
The tasting? Absolutely brielliant (couldn’t think of any Scottish cheese puns, m’kay?)
Even although it was well past caffeine o’clock by the time the last morsel of cheese was nibbled with an almost-forgotten biscuit crumb, a creamy Baileys coffee was snuck in to wash the rest of the evening down. Not to mention dessert no. 2, comprising of salted caramel bites (does anyone remember life before salted caramel?); extra salty, extra melty, extra wowzer.
I have never before regretted being so late to visit a restaurant. I promise to return promptly, and to order much, much more wine on my next visit.